By Bonnie Gangelhoff
What inspired your winning entry? I have been painting that same sandhill crane for a long time. It’s my favorite bird at the San Antonio Zoo, and I go to visit quite often.When I was a student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, I used to go to the zoo a lot to work on pieces for school. That’s when I first saw Sandy.
What was your reaction upon hearing the news that you were selected? I couldn’t believe it. I was at the pool with my grandkids when I got the call. It was quite a shock.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I also studied with Jeff Legg, Dalhart Windberg, and Scott Burdick.
What is your favorite subject matter, and why? Birds. They are so prominent in South Texas, and there are so many varieties. I’ve been painting birds for a long time. I was a graphic artist, but I would always paint on the weekends. Now I paint seven days a week. I have taken bird photography classes, and I take a lot of reference photos because birds don’t hold still—they pose only briefly. I favor slower birds such as sandhill cranes and egrets. And I like birds that stand in water because I like the reflections and the way the water breaks into little patterns.
What is the most meaningful recognition you have received for your artwork? This year has been phenomenal. I was accepted into the Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art in San Antonio and the Birds in Art show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI. It’s my first year in Birds in Art.
What is the one thing people will never see you paint? People.
Future goals? To win the Federal Duck Stamp contest and to be accepted into Birds in Art more than once.
Representation: Port A Gallery, Port Aransas, TX; Mill Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Bismarck Studios, San Antonio, TX; www.debbiestevens.net.
Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” competition in November 2010